Grigorij Richters

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Grigorij Richters
Grigorij richters with vw bus by filmsunited.jpg
Grigorij Richters in front of his VW Bus in Potsdam, Germany
Grigorij S Richters

(1987-05-21) 21 May 1987 (age 34)
Hamburg, Germany
OccupationFilm director, activist, producer
Years active1994–present

Grigorij S. Richters (born 21 May 1987) is a director, activist, producer and official Forbes Council member.[1] He directed the feature film 51 Degrees North[citation needed] and co-founded the global awareness movement Asteroid Day with astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May.[2][3] Richters was Kevin Spacey's filmmaker-in-residence at the Old Vic Theatre and activist Stephen Sutton's documentarian before Sutton's death in 2014.[4] He filmed and produced his first documentary at the age of 11.[5] He also walked from Paris to Berlin to advocate for refugee children who are stuck in Greek refugee camps.[6][7]


Born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, Richters has been making films since he was old enough to hold a camera. He became a child model at the age of two. His childhood home had access to the river Alster, a right tributary of the Elbe river in Northern Germany. At the age of seven, he set up a stand at the river and started selling hot dogs and drinks to people on boats, making him over one thousand Euros on a good day, enough money to buy expensive camera equipment. In 2003, he moved to the UK and attended the sixth-form college Hurtwood House where he earned the school's "Best Director" award. In 2003 he directed his first commercial for the fitness and wellness chain Meridian SPA [8]

In 2004, he used the money he saved from his days as a child model and directed a short film called "Dean's Life" which ran at several festivals.[9] German actor Mario Adorf was originally attached to play the character "Ashriel" but eventually dropped out due to a conflict in his schedule.

In 2006, he worked as an assistant at the Berlin-based production company Egoli Tossell Film where he helped to secure the music rights for Paul Verhoeven's film Black Book[10] and helped cast Helen Mirren in The Last Station after Meryl Streep dropped out. That same year he directed a short film, IMAGINE, while studying direction under Academy Award-winning Czech film director Miloš Forman at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In 2007 he moved to New York City where he worked as a consultant for MTV on shows like the MTV Music awards while he developed the concept for a TV show with VH1. His apartment was overlooking the Hudson River. When Chesley Sullenberger landed the plane on the Hudson River, Richters saw it and filmed it.[11]

In 2010 he moved to London where he started working for Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic Theatre. During this time he also directed his first feature film 51 Degrees North which lead to the creation of the United Nations Asteroid Day. The IAU renamed small body 8664 Grigorijrichters after him for co-founding Asteroid Day.[12] In 2020 he got Married during Covid 19 Pandemic in a small private ceremony.

Stephen Sutton[edit]

In 2013, while working for Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic theatre in London he was hired by UEFA to film the Opening Ceremony of the Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium. During the rehearsals he met Stephen Sutton who was one of many drummers during the Opening Ceremony. Richters and Sutton quickly became friends. Richters' production company Films United started managing Sutton's website, helping him run his social media and produced a documentary about his life which still hasn't been finished. After Sutton's death in 2014, Richters gave several interviews on his behalf.[13][14][15]

51 Degrees North[edit]

Richters began working on his debut feature film 51 Degrees North in 2010. It took him five years to make the film on a €10,000 budget.[16][17][18]


Damon Miller is a filmmaker grappling with the pressures of an impoverished profession and a dissolving relationship. One routine assignment will change his life as he is involved in the disturbing research into Near-Earth Objects.

Production highlights[edit]

While filming on Tower Bridge, a bus driver believing one of the actors to be carrying a bomb released the bus UNDER ATTACK signal and a counter-terrorism squad was called. For the climactic moment of the movie, the producers cast 600 Extras and asked them to act as if the world ended on a Saturday Night at Piccadilly Circus. To everyone's surprise 1500 Extras showed up and an additional 1000 passers-by ended up being in some of the shots. This made the production the second largest film shoot at Piccadilly Circus and the low-budget movie with the most Extras in history.

Richters met QUEEN guitarist Dr. Brian May in late 2013. After watching an edit of the film, May agreed to compose the music for the film. They recorded the music in March 2014 at London's Sarm Studios.


The first private screening of the film took place in September 2014 at the Starmus Festival. The screening was attended by Stephen Hawking, Alexei Leonov, Richard Dawkins and May. The official premier took place on 30 June 2015 at the Science Museum in London. Discovery Channel bought the rights to the film for one year and released the film worldwide in 2015. It became their first ever scripted film.[19][20]

Asteroid Day[edit]

After screening his feature film 51 Degrees North at the Starmus Festival in 2014 he met Stephen Hawking who inspired Richters to create a global awareness day. Just a few months after the festival he teamed up with Brian May, President of B612 Danica Remy and Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart to create Asteroid Day.[21][22][23] On 6 December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly declared 30 June as International Asteroid Day.[24][25][26]


In response to the Coronavirus crisis in 2020, Richters organised #SpaceConnectsUs with the European Space Agency, Asteroid Day and Markus Payer. "They teamed up to connect Europe and the world with astronauts, scientists and world-famous performers, bringing a message of hope and support for everyone faced with the Coronavirus crisis," it reads on the Asteroid Day website.[27][28]

Helping refugees[edit]

One million steps for refugees[edit]

On 27 October 2018 Richters started walking from Paris to Berlin, making over one million steps, to raise awareness about 1,000 unaccompanied children who live in refugee camps such as Moria Refugee Camp in Greece. His initiative is supported by Queen guitarist Dr. Brian May, influencers Lisa and Lena, astronaut Chris Hadfield, Stephen Fry but also politicians like German state minister Michael Roth. After arriving in Berlin on December 9, the German government agreed to finding a solution for the children.[29][30][31][32]

We Are The Children[edit]

In March 2019 Richters teamed up with British producer Danielle Turkov Wilson and German filmmaker Uwe Praetel. Together they launched the #WeAreTheChildren campaign. The three met while Richters was walking from Paris to Berlin, in 2018. On 20 March 2019, Italian MEP Brando Benifei and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani hosted an event with the group at Parliament in Brussels. The goal of the event was to ask European MEPs and Government leaders to relocate the 1,000 children from Greek refugee camps to other European countries. At the centre of the campaign is a music video for the QUEEN song Is this the world we created...? which was co-written by Brian May and Freddie Mercury in 1984. The campaigners have asked the public to record themselves lip-syncing to the song. The video was premiered in Parliament on 20 March 2019.[33][34] On 28 March 2019, the video was released online across all QUEEN social media channels and the video platform TikTok.[35]

Terror in Hanau[edit]

After a far-right terror attack in Hanau on 19 February 2020, Richters organised a protest in memory of the victims.[36][37]


  1. ^ "Grigorij Richters' official Forbes Business Council member profile"
  2. ^ Rajan, Nitya (8 July 2015). "Brian May Talks Armageddon And Why The 'Bruce Willis Solution' Won't Work". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  3. ^ Michael, Roston. "Not Quite Happy World Asteroid Day" The New York Times 30 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Stephen Sutton: Footage of Ibiza holiday 'will be film'" BBC 15 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Asteroid Day, Grigorij Richters biography"
  6. ^ Alice Cuddy. "German filmmaker begins 1,400 km walk from Paris to Berlin for refugee children" Euronews 28 October 2018.
  7. ^ Baynes, Chris (27 November 2018). "Germany neo-Nazis draw swastikas on van of Jewish man walking 1,000 miles for refugee children". The Independent. Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  8. ^ "YouTube video" Imagefilm MeridianSpa Alstertal.
  9. ^ IMDB entry for the film "Dean's Life".
  10. ^ IMDB entry for the film "Black Book".
  11. ^ "YouTube video" Miracle on Hudson.
  12. ^ "Minor Planet Center website"
  13. ^ "Stephen Sutton: Footage of Ibiza holiday 'will be film'" BBC 15 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Remembering Stephen Sutton: in his own words" The Telegraph, Lucy Kinder 16 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Stephen's Story on the Films United website"
  16. ^ "YouTube video" 51 Degrees North Official Trailer.
  17. ^ IMDB entry for the film "51 Degrees North".
  18. ^ Total Film Staff . "Movies to watch this week at the cinema: Terminator: Genisys, Magic Mike XXL, more..." Gamesradar 03 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Discovery Science going stellar for Asteroid Day" Channel24 12 June 2016.
  20. ^ Hanneke Weitering. "Asteroid Day 2018: Raising Awareness of the Risk of Space Rocks" 29 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Starmus Festival website"
  22. ^ "Asteroid Day website"
  23. ^ Stuart Clark. "'Obviously the threat is there': Chris Hadfield on the danger of asteroid strikes" The Guardian 14 February 2017.
  24. ^ "United Nations website"
  25. ^ "Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 December 2016"
  26. ^ "UNOOSA Press Release"
  27. ^ Ute Spangenberger. "Von Astronauten lernen in Corona-Zeiten" 26 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Spaceconnectsus Website"
  29. ^ Chris Baynes. "Germany neo-Nazis draw swastikas on van of Jewish man walking 1,000 miles for refugee children" The Independent 27 November 2018.
  30. ^ Alice Cuddy. "German filmmaker begins 1,400 km walk from Paris to Berlin for refugee children" Euronews 28 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Tweet from Michael Roth"
  32. ^ "Instagram post from Lisa and Lena"
  33. ^ "QUEEN website"
  34. ^ "Campaign website"
  35. ^ "QUEEN Youtube channel"
  36. ^ Tim Hume. "Don't Blame Germany’s Far-Right for the Hanau Shooting, Says Germany’s Far Right" VICE News 21 February 2020.
  37. ^ Claire Jones and Tobias Buck. "Hanau residents mourn victims of extremist gunman" Financial Times 21 February 2020.

External links[edit]